TALLAHASSEE — Bruce Petty, whose older brother was rock star Tom Petty, keeps a low profile while living and working as a sales manager in Tallahassee. He never talked about his older, famous sibling in the press unless he were personally asked to do so by the singer of “Breakdown,” “American Girl” and “I Won’t Back Down.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the younger Petty, who is still reeling from his brother’s death from cardiac arrest at 66 on Monday night, broke his silence with a request from the Petty family.
In a text message to the Tallahassee Democrat, the statement read:
"Our family wants to thank everyone who has kept us in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Myself, along with my wife, our children and grandchildren are appreciative and strengthened through the hundreds of messages that have been flooding in. Tom was a remarkable and loving brother. He was so very loved by his family, friends and fans. We are requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The American Red Cross disaster relief fund."
Since his death earlier this week, singer-songwriter Petty, who grew up in Gainesville, Fla., has been remembered fondly by famous musicians and fans alike.
Tallahassee singer-songwriter Pat Puckett, who bears a physical resemblance to the late rocker, was flabbergasted by the first news reports of Petty’s death.
“He had it all,” Puckett said Monday. “The swagger and the sublime. He stood up for what he believed, he walked with giants and in turn became one. The Petty thing followed me since I picked up a guitar. Being referred to as Tallahassee's Tom Petty was about as nice a thing as anybody ever said about me. I'm gutted.”